by Margaux Salcedo
Faith is the certainty that Jesus is with us.
The certainty that Jesus has risen from the dead. The certainty that God is triumphant over sin and death.
It is not a belief. It is not a hypothesis. It is not a possibility. It is a fact.
It is a fact proven not through scientific evidence but through an encounter with God in Jesus Christ and in the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The encounter is an experience so gripping that belief transcends to certainty.
But we cannot produce faith on our own.
Faith is God’s gift.
Faith comes when God offers us the opportunity to encounter Him in his word, His sacraments, His service; to have a relationship where we can experience His unconditional love.
But the offer requires a response.
We must respond by abandoning ourselves to the Lord.
Then we must continually strive to hear Him.
Once we abandon ourselves and accept the gift of faith, Cardinal Tagle explained in a talk in Vancouver (Queen Elizabeth Theater, March 2018), “this is nurtured and mediated to us by the Word of God. Then, hopefully, through our constancy in listening to the Word of God - celebrating his presence in the sacraments, participating in God’s love for humanity - the faith is internalized, and the relationship with God is internalized.”
This is what you call being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Once filled with the Holy Spirit, professing our faith will no longer just be something celebrated sporadically.
Blessed with the gift of Faith, the Holy Spirit will direct our actions: our speech, the way we treat people, our appreciation of events, our relationships. Whether in church, at work, at home or in school, we will see others through the eyes of faith.
Our perspective of the world will change as our horizon becomes that of Faith. We will see the presence of God not only in the sacraments but in every person, in every living being, everywhere.
A youth participant at the World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland asked Cardinal Tagle after his talk, “How do I know that God loves me?” His Eminence succinctly explained that you will only know through faith:
Realizing that God knows me or that God knows your struggles is a matter of faith. We cannot prove that. We can only have what St. John’s Gospel calls signs. Signs that must be interpreted with the eyes of faith. Without faith they don’t mean anything.